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The Myth of Headless Buddhas



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3 months ago I did a Thailand-Cambodia trip. The most striking experience was with all the headless buddhas. I found them in Ayutthaya, the second capital of Thailand, and also Siem Reap, Cambodia.


I was reading the history outside the temples, and also I looked it up on the internet. The truth is when Ayutthaya, once a strong Siamese kingdom(1351-1767), was invaded by the Burmese army, they destroyed almost all buddhas and beheaded them. But Burma also believe in Buddhism. Why would they chop all the heads from the buddhas?

Biking around this ancient city and looking at those headless buddhas was really a journey travelling back in time.

A buddha head buried in the tree, Ayutthaya.


The same fate was shared by the buddhas in Cambodia. It was pretty surprising to see the same thing in Siem Reap, mainly in Angkor Wat temple. But the story is different. The buddhas were beheaded by the local people themselves during the civil war. They did it to extract the gold inside.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Most of the sculptures were destroyed.

It was my first time seeing all the headless buddhas. Thailand and Cambodia are to me countries rich in history and religion. 


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